By Shivansh Gupta
I recently recovered from 11 days of an encounter with chicken pox. 11 days of being bed ridden, detached and resisting the temptation to scratch the itches which is impossible to do. In fact, I would succeed if someone told me to try not to think about sex for a week but resisting the urge to scratch is surely a mammoth task. It feels *so* darn good when you scratch that awful itch. Until it starts itching more and drives you crazy.
Let alone the itching, chicken pox gives you a 10 to 15-day seclusion that your mind will use thinking over some of the useless things that are mostly reserved for your bathing sessions.
But being a Hindu I had something to get amused for, during those days of solitary confinement.
The name is Sheetla, Sheetla Mata. Legend has it that Goddess Sheetla carries a silver broomstick in right hand, a water pot in left hand, wears a red saree and a garland of neem leaves and rides around the villages in North India on a donkey (ass), inflicting people with the pox – small pox, chicken pox etc.
Before I go further I would like to write a disclaimer that in no way I am against Hinduism or have something to do with ISIS. Disclaimers are pretty much common in India, it performs the same task for the so-called patriots as the oblations for God, both ensuring not to inflict their anger.
Now this Mata has a furious personality and shows her anger to you by inflicting you with chicken pox. She isn’t that famous as compared to other Gods, therefore, for some publicity she ensures to visit everybody, maybe that’s why there is a high probability of you getting a pox once in a lifetime and given the number of people on Earth, there is a very low chance that she would visit you twice.
Whenever I wonder what she would say just before entering your body, it reminds me of Samuel L. Jackson from Pulp Fiction who went something like this ” …and I will strike upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger..” which he thought is a cold-blooded shit to say which bolsters his ruffian-ness before he points a gun to someone.
Medicines. No, don’t you ever dare to take those antipyretic paracetamol tablets as this is a blasphemy one could ever commit. Taking medications will only contribute to increasing her annoyance, but worshipping her may make her happy enough to leave your body and reside in some other person, maybe your family member.
Moreover, all important decisions taken by your family during this period have to be taken only after consulting you as you have a Devi inside. Now this is the only privilege that you get.
A Tinge Of Rationality
It is difficult to actually believe that Chicken Pox has anything to do with Sheetla Mata’s anger, but a delve into the symbolism of this Goddess is somewhat rational. The internet says:
- The silver broomstick in right hand symbolizes spreading cleanliness.
- Water pot in left hand symbolizes recovering victims with cool water from river Ganges.
- The red saree resembles fear and protection.
- The garland of neem leaves considered as a remedy for infection and the donkey is the symbol of determination or stubbornness of the disease.
The first and last points seem logical.
I think ancient Hindu doctors were expert and badass, they knew that people have a tendency to do exactly those things that they have being prescribed not to do so they came up with an idea of Sheetla Mata. They thought that fear of God will make them do those things and indeed thousands of years after, in this country the fear of God is the driving force behind most of the beliefs and actions.
Image Source: Google Images.
Hope you liked this article. Here’s some criticism of practices related to Hinduism, read at your own risk: